tv Today in Washington CSPAN April 15, 2011 2:00am-6:00am EDT
was talking about health care will be reimbursed providers based upon keeping people healthy, health care outcomes instead of the fee-for-service model. and we've put together an ambitious plan passing the senate almost as we speak it's all because the house and i going to sign it into law and come to congress and maybe for a few waivers so i'm so glad we had this the opportunity to start baking now. >> we will be interested to see how that turns out as we have our challenges here. do you believe that collective bargaining is a basic human right? >> i believe it's a basic right in the space society, and i say that as a guy that was born and raised in vermont. my ancestors like so many of us in this room came to the country with nothing and ended up picking beets in my great grandfather in the west somewhere and frankly were it
not for the right to collective believe bargained i don't believe my relatives were most middle class americans would have the opportunities for economic progress the enjoy today. it's a basic human right and democracy this is direct contradiction with franklin roosevelt who was a pro union percent and said the ticket was attention should be paid to the special relations and obligations to public service but public itself and to the government process of collective bargaining is understood cannot be transplanted into public service and he goes on to say a strike of public employees manifest nothing less than the intent to obstruct the operation of the government and until the demand is satisfied. can you comment on that? >> someone as great as roosevelt could be wrong more than once. >> i would disagree that my time is up and thank you for your comment. i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman and
want to acknowledge mr. merkley from connecticut. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman, and both governors, thank you for your attendance today and for sticking with us throughout this process. i guess i just had a simple statement in question for you, governor walker. i guess for those of us watching this debate played out and i think this has been covered by several of my colleagues it's hard to square the concession have been made by the unions and their willingness to come to the table and the continued drive to strip them of collective bargaining rights and there's been a lot of conversations among the country have to leave to how this plays into the much broader debate that's happening around the nation. when we looked at the amount of outside money that's been spent in wisconsin with respect to doherty election, to the site
over the legislation and then most recently in fell last few weeks with respect to this election for the court. it's hard to make the argument that this debate only plays out in the context of wisconsin's budget, and in fact some of the key players in this drama seem to be pretty open about how this is ultimately about trying to kill a pretty important constituency for working families and i think we have this quote on the board earlier when mr. connally was asking his questions, but let me read it aloud. the state senate leader scott fitzgerald said recently during an interview on fox news, quote, if we win this battle and the money isn't under the auspices of the unions, certainly when you are going to find is president obama is great to have a much more difficult time getting elected and winning the state of wisconsin. and in an e-mail solicitation on
a fund-raising letter, excuse me, that he sent out, he was making the pitch that republicans should be supported because they faced on the big labor's bully tactics and democratic walked out on the senate to break the power of the unions in wisconsin once and for all. this sounds a lot like a broad political fight to try to defeat your opponent to try to defeat the advocates for the working families, and i guess i'm sure you have a good answer to this question, but i'd like to know if you agree with the statements of your state senate leader scott fitzgerald and how you would address the concern of many of us that the reason that you have $2.1 million being spent on behalf of your candidate for the court, the reason that you have groups like the coke brothers pouring in thousands and thousands of dollars because this is about a much broader effort, and it seems some of the key players in
i can tell you for me it's about the budget, but it's also ultimately about making government work better and i think it's a change in middle-class matches the middle class. it's even middle-class individuals who work for state and local government because for as we ultimately believe in wasting the alternative that would protect the middle class jobs by avoiding what other states are doing with massive layoffs at both the state and local level and ultimately put in place a system that the government will work better. i've got two kids in a public school. i'd like to have a system like we do elsewhere in society who would pay for performance, i'd like to have people based on merit and performance. these reforms and powerless to keep our best teachers in schools and that's part of the package as well. >> my time is almost up. you can certainly a time as to whether you agree with your
state senate leader when he said this is ultimately about trying to defeat president obama in wisconsin. >> i can say what it is for me. it's ultimately about balancing the budget now in the future, not just temporary because it had too many people temporarily pushing problems in the future. it's the long-term answer about long-term reform in our government. our schools and local governments and states operate better. like millions of dollars being pumped into the state who disagree with that vision, but i appreciate your answer. >> i want to acknowledge my colleague from south carolina. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i noted the conciliatory tone and book your inch reduction in the statement. i've made a couple of notes. you mentioned the unity tour, which i found spidering. he said come to the table. you mention the word
gracefulness in the knesset on four different occasions he said come together. my question is how do you do that when a site with whom you disagree has absconded from the state and is essentially a fugitive from responsibilities? with table to you set and you're not in the same state? >> e-mail, you don't try the reasonableness please the heat of the crisis. to avert the crisis. i'll tell you by way of our experience under the republican governor, jim douglas, we need to get roughly $25 million out of our pensions for teachers to balance their budget. and things were going so well in those negotiations with the governor. so the democratic senate president, myself and the democratic speaker sat down and said listen, we're going to have to get the savings that we can do it with you or we can do it without you and really would like to do it with you. and they turn to us and said we want to do it with you.
so my point is when you're going to work together, when you do at the american people want most desperately from politicians in washington right now it's a delight. reasonableness, compromise, you have to start with that foot. you can't ask for it once you've created crisis. >> there's a concept of mutuality that is inherent or required for that to happen. i know you would agree with me. i also want to say inherent in your comments to me and in your testimony, frankly, instability. in the last two weeks alone, members of this body up and told by a colleague to go to, not purgatory, not tedious, not the river styx, but hell. my colleague from virginia made reference to a phone call placed to an elected official. will you help and join me in decrying the rhetoric and tax kicks in i just laid out?
>> you know, i think that stability has to be applied to all public officials and i think we need to raise the bar collectively peered across this country -- >> to think making surreptitious phone calls from pretending to be someone you are not enhances stability and discourse in this country? all i can say is i have no disagreeing with you that this ability tunnel runs both ways and we all have the responsibility of public statements and the american people expect for us to be so will all the time. >> you in response to doc your date charlie somebody may have misquoted collective bargain -- the ability to collective bargaining for basic human rights and democracy. what is your authority for that
statement? what is your constitutional authority for same? >> well, free speech. >> and your abilities stack, where would you point me in the constitution for support for the underlying notion >> you know, it is my belief as a governor of a state that collective bargaining is the right and something that insert disk country with extraordinary progress in distinction and it's allowed, as i mentioned, families like mine who came from nothing to succeed economically in the best democracy, the best economy in the best business climate that anyone could never design. so all i can say is i see it as a basic rate. >> are there exceptions? >> not they can think of. >> law enforcement? >> law enforcement should collective bargain like anyone
else. they have in our state has had great results. >> in my state of south carolina, we laid all prosecutors and furloughed them for five days last year because we have a fiscal crisis to come most every other state. if that's something you had entertained in your state? can you oversee furling the core functions of government, which all three of those categories are, could you ever see that happening? >> we actually did move arcades to a four-day week. >> federal courts are saying the judges have always been -- >> we noticed our state judges. >> basing my time is up. >> i acknowledge my colleague, mr. tierney for mr. chester cheeses. >> thank you, mr. chairman. let me just ask you, when you're trying to resolve your problems in a state, and you start off with unions by saying you are
going to require them to hold annual votes and continue representing government employees they would no longer detect dues from the paycheck and expect them to come to the table and start a conversation with you? is that the way you begin? not know, that's not what is up with. >> i just think that's a point worth making. >> what percentage of your annual state government spending is the contribution to your pension accounts? >> it's about 4%. i think it's important we remember that. when i talked about the real challenges governor having to balance the budget, my health care costs go in double digits. my corrections budget has doubled. my challenge is not pensions. of course it is a consideration, but are pension funds are not performing well and were doing okay. >> what percentage of viewers they spending is related to the pensions account?
>> if you look over all and i don't know the exact vintage, but i can give you the numbers. >> if you don't know that, as it significantly more or less than 4%? >> total budget is about $600 billion -- excuse me, $60 billion. the total amount of savings we have is 1.4. >> national association of state retirement administrators is less than 3% of all state and local government is used to fund public pension funds. do you think this is generally rough? governor walker, and you want to make >> i will follow up and give you the percentage. the >> we talk just a second about the defined-benefit. from the early conversation, my understand is you recognized when you switch the defined-benefit at the defined contribution, there's a
tremendous shift in the risk to the beneficiary. is that right? >> risk and cost. >> rebook colonna shoulders -- >> basically generally inures it and others that when the original station was set up, that was part of the progress of the employee may have taken some other area they were negotiating on and returned for having a little more security and retirement. my right? so it was the employer making the deal as well as the employee. seems like a fair deal to you? on the aspect both of you if i could not not come into either review as for the authority for the americas active state? >> no. >> to interview believe the bankruptcy court is better able to overcome differences in the political process in your state governors and legislature?
>> no. what do they begin think of the court can restore fiscal stability in your states? the mac no. >> no. >> to give you think you'd be better better manage your state finances? >> no. >> no. >> so you both agree with the letter that governors require a democrat from washington and governor heinemann from nebraska sunset congressional leaders that essentially made up point. allowing states to clear bankruptcy is not an authority in the state theatre. states are separate entities in which the public trust is granted to electric leaders and the bankruptcy proposal suggests the bankruptcy court is better able to overcome political differences can restore fiscal stability and manage finances of the state. the assertions are false and serve only threaten the fabric of local finance. each of you gentlemen be in agreement with that? >> that the ng's position and i support it. i agree.
>> i yield back. thank you, mr. chairman. >> would the gentleman yield? >> the gentleman yields. >> let's go back to you, governor shumlin. as i listen to you talk about the maple syrup in your methodology, there was one word that she left out. and the reason why i think you got the cooperation that you've got is because the restart. the workers felt that he respected them. i heard your story and i wouldn't be here either it's the were not for unions. no doubt about it. my parents were former sharecroppers come in many south carolina came to baltimore, got a union job and that's why it here today. i just wanted you to know they felt respected. >> i appreciate your comments and obviously we write for firefighters, four police officers, folks that are plowing
the roads and all of our public employees is incredibly important to any chief executive. >> the gentleman from arizona, mr. gowdy -- i'm sorry, dr. kosar. >> i want to get back to original topic of state and municipal debt. we are not talking apples to apples in your state. when we get this right. you actually are a tax giver to the federal government in your attacks taker from the federal government i'm not mistaken, right? for every dollar of tax to generate 82 cents back in vermont get $1.12 back, right? >> you know, i'm an expert on the cheese in our state, not the apples. >> but there's a difference. to my link here as back to the
basic core problem with all states and the federal mandate that some of the state should be doing, right? particularly governor shumlin come you talk about health care and collections. isn't that an amendment right? does she like the ability to have flexibility in regards to those oversight of those funds? >> well, yes, frankly, but you need to define what we mean by flexibility because my fear is that we have this -- >> if i can just finish what i was saying as we get a little bit towards the next budget discussion is that flexibility means were going to leave the requirements and take the money on behalf of the federal government and states of being tougher shape than we are already was under reimbursements with medicaid and medicare. >> and i understand because with the unfunded mandate, the same
cost no one wants to talk about and that is for the federal law to be enacted in the state, we hire more workers that are not in the area. turn the public sector. therefore these rules continually go up. part of this is based upon the maturity -- if i look across the board coming from arizona and holy cow, look at those numbers here in the second, but the problem is that the budget problem in each of the states are derived by the unfunded mandate by the federal government. >> i think that's an oversimplification. the veggie challenge and states are derived from the worst recession in american history run on by creed on wall street in housing bubble got transferred to main street. i was the culprit. >> i've got to stop either because did we also have a problem with the federal government and not? didn't the government establishes up in the risk pool and all the aspects of risk kind of regulators and telling banks and the financiers will do this.
so this equal blame to go around and that's how we want to go about. >> i would argue if you want to get into that, there's no lack of regulation of wall street to let us to the crisis. >> once again, government problems. coming from the federal government. what i'm trying to get back to us it's not an oversimplification because when were telling you a rule, if it is intrinsic to the federal government's mission, do you think they ought to pass the buck to you or they should fully fund it? >> i think the federal government should keep its promises to the states. >> are you prepared to honor those promises to communities? >> absolutely. >> okay, so when were talking about health care and corrections, i'm having a problem here on what this unfunded mandate is coming from because we constantly are kicking the can down the road and these are the core principle problems that you brought up his
health care and corrections. >> it isn't the mandate -- we don't have federal mandates and corrections that are really budget challenge. >> wait a minute. you know, i've got a few new sheriff in my neck of the woods in the federal government breathing down his neck saying yes you can do that, no you can't. there is some oversight in regards to the federal government that dictates exactly how you can incarcerate a prisoner. >> i not see a car striver in the state budget. >> how do you feel, governor walker? not only the federal government to state government, but many times the mandate for the local government and the extent to get more flexibility i want to make sure that doesn't cut it in half
either. if you put the power in the hands of the people at the state level, states are better equipped to tackle the challenges and in turn can once tapirs another staple at different needs and outcomes in the more we can adjust to not have the better will all be. the gentleman from new york -- the gentlelady from california california -- >> thank you, mr. maloney and thank you, mr. chaiman for your participation here today. i don't know if i would've done a severity two of you, but i'm glad that you have. let me start off with governor walker. i have here a website, debbie debbie w..stand with walker.com that is supported by the
americans for prosperity and it is of course funded by the co-brothers. and then it went public site for workers to sweetheart contracts filled unheard-of for taxpayer loses every time. she agreed that statement quite >> pirates in a statement before, who pays for the pensions and things of the taxpayers? i do know about that statement, but conceptually who pays for the pension health care benefits? at taxpayers including public sector employers are taxpayers as well. >> is a quick facts about repair legislation. the second point is respecting the public trust. the teachers choose not to cheese country in teach, do you believe this statement to lavish contracts?
>> lavish contracts? no. you earned her the earlier, but i pointed out to me this is not about which one of the doctors asked whether that public employees are paid too little or too much and i said that's not what this is about. this is about trying to balance the budget and provide long-term to make government work better. >> let me ask you this, excuse me for reclaiming my time. do you think teachers in wisconsin are paid adequately? >> if we could set up a system where we report based on performance and merit, i'd be willing to pay more. we don't have the system right now. >> to know what the starting teacher salaries in wisconsin? >> depends on the district. the lucky public school system total compensation package for an average employs about 101,000. >> is starting teacher salary in
recognized. mr. mcconnell: i ask that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: yesterday president obama outline what had he is describing as a responsible approach to our nation's fiscal problems. and my initial response to that characterization that with all due respect, mr. president -- with all due respect -- the
american people are not inclined to take advice on fiscal responsibility from an administration whose unprecedented borrowing and spending has done so much to create a mess that we're in. after two years of adding trillions to the debt and ignoring our nation's looming fiscal nightmare, the president may be right in thinking that the politically expedient thing to do is to point the finger at others, but the truly responsible thing would be to admit that his own two-year experiment in big government has been an unmitigated disaster for the economy and itself a major, major driver of our debt, and that his -- his -- inaction on the latter is the primary reason others have been forced to step forward and offer meaningful solutions -- meaningful solutions -- of their own. and that's what most people already believe anyway. so the president's attempt to stake out the high ground in
this debate was, i suspect, hard for many americans to swallow. despite the president's imaginative account of how we arrived at the situation we're in, the american people are well past the point of believing that washington will be able to make good on all its promises if only we let the president and democrats raise taxes. americans know that we face a fiscal crisis not because we tax too little, but because we spend too much. they do not support the reckless washington spending that has left us with record deficits and debt and they will not support raising taxs to preserve an unsustainable status quo. besides, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have already rejected the kind of tax hike on small business that president obama endorsed again yesterday, so it was counterproductive for him to try to revive it. as for entitlements, the president rightly acknowledged that before we know it, the
government will spend every dime it takes in just to cover the costs of medicare, medicaid, social social security and the interest on our debt. what he didn't say is that the health care bill he signed last year takes more than $500 billion out of medicare to pay for an entirely new entitlement that could be just as unsustainable as medicare itself and which forces nearly 20 million more americans into a medicaid program which, as currently arranged, is bankrupting all of our states. so the president can claim to be a great defender of the social safety net. he may claim to stand for a nobler vision of america than those who disagree with him but the facts speak for themselves. when it comes to preserving the social safety net the president does not address those things that have caused our entitlement programs to be unsustainable in the first place. instead, the president would simply tinker around the edges
and leave the hard work for others, passing the buck to future presidents. and that just won't cut it anymore. americans are paying attention. they know the fiscal problems we face will not be solved by continuing the job-destroying policies that got us here. what's more, the centerpiece of the president's proposal, a tax hike on top earners, may sound appealing to those whose primary goal in this debate is to protect big government. but looking at the most recent data, the "wall street journal" points out this morning, this very morning, that even if we were to lay claim to every taxable dollar -- every taxable dollar -- of every single american who earns more than $100,000 a year, if we laid claim to every taxable dollar of every american who made over $100,000 a year, we still wouldn't raise enough to cover the $1.6 trillion deficit the
president's budget gives us this year alone. take all of the tax money from everybody in america who makes over $100,000 a year, take it all, mr. president, and you wouldn't cover the deficit for this year alone. the best way to bring down the debt and to create the climate that will lead to good private-sector jobs and prosperity is not to repeat the policies of the past but to change them. and that means cutting washington spending, not squeezing family budgets even more. throughout the day today senators will have an opportunity to debate a down payment on those cuts for the rest of the current fiscal year, so i invite them to come to the floor to discuss that proposal. after that, we'll move on to even more far-reaching debate, not about billions but about trillions. that's the debate that will show americans exactly where their
elected representatives stand on facing up to the fiscal challenges we face. republicans are looking forward to that debate. and that brings me to a final point. yesterday the president said the debate we've been having in washington about the size and scope of government isn't about numbers on a page. it's about the kind of country we believe in. but he left out an important point, and that is this: that there are a great many people in washington and beyond who agree with him but who also believe in their core that the approach he's taken over the past two years represents the greatest single threat to the very future he envisions. america will not continue to be a great nation unless we are able to keep our promises to current and future generations and stop spending money we don't have. but the greatest obstacle to that future is not the everyday american who wants washington to balance its checkbook or those
who look to where the president's policies have gotten us and map out a different path to the future than he would. the greatest object sta dell we face is the -- the greatest obstacle we face is the crushing burden of our debt as the president now admits. unfortunately, the plan he outlined yesterday does not seriously address it. americans know the stakes in this debate. they know the reason we're in this situation. it's time the president and the democrats in congress acknowledge it as well. the debate has shifted. and while the president doesn't seem to see that quite yet, we will not solve our problems until he stops campaigning and joins us in a serious bipartisan effort to change not only his tone, but his direction. that's how we'll ensure that the future that he and we envision and want actually comes about. that's the onlyu,
mr. president. i ask unanimous consent to vitiate any quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. vitter: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i rise today to explain why i'm voting "no" on the budget deal later this afternoon. first a and foremost, i am voting "no" because i don't think this is a meaningful, substantial start to getting our hands around what is the biggest potential crisis we face as a nation: out-of-control spending and debt. $38 billion is, i suppose, more of a cut than we've ever done, but if you put it in any other context, any other context, it's very, very modest indeed. take a look at the eight days leading up to the announcement of this deal. in those eight days alone, barely more than a week, we as a nation racked up $54 billion of brand-new debt, way more than
the $38 billion of cuts in just eight days. that gives some perspective on exactly how modest and how limited in meaning this is. when you dig a little deeper to look at details of the cuts, i'm afraid the picture gets even worse. a lot of these cuts are paper cuts only, only cuts on nairp don't have a -- 0 on paper that don't have a meaningful impact oin the real world. there's been significant reporting about this. the justice department fund, other examples -- that probably accounts for $12 billion or $13 billion of the cuts. in addition, just yesterday, the c.b.o. issued a report that said only 1% of those cuts -- $350 million or so -- would have an impact this fiscal year. all of the rest is pushed off
well into the future. so because of that, mr. chairman, i'm voting "no." i think we need a much stronger start to getting our fiscal house in order. in addition, mr. chairman, i'm very concerned about what this budget deal continues to fund in terms of policy, in terms of impact on americans' lives, and the clearest example of that for me is the continuing funding of planned parenthood. i just believe it's morally wrong to end an innocent human life. and i also believe it's morally reprehensible to take tax dollars of millions of pro-life americans in order to fund organizations that do just that. americans shouldn't be forced to subsidize abortions, much less fund our nation's largest abortion provider, and that's what planned parenthood is, pure
and simple. now, opponents of defunding planned parenthood had argued in the news and even on the senate floor that the organization provides many vital health care services 0 other than abortions, such as mammograms. wwell, we've seen recently that that is a big fiction. planned parenthood's c.e.o. repeated this assertion recently. she claimed "if this bill ever becomes law" -- meaning the defunding of planned parenthood. -- "millions of women in this country are going to lose their health care access, not to abortion services, to basic family planning, you know, mammograms." well, as i said, in recent days, this has been shown to be a huge fiction. live action, which is a pro-life group, recorded calls in the last several days to 30 planned
parenthood clinics in 27 states. in each conversation, a woman calls in and asks if she can schedule an appointment for a mammogram, and in each conversation, without exception, the planned parenthood representative tells her that they don't provide mammograms, period. one staffer admits, "we don't provide those services whatsoever." another explains, "we actually don't have a mammogram machine at our clinics." the staffer at planned parenthood here in d.c., it was perhaps clearest. she said, "we do not provide mammograms. we don't deal with the health side of it so much. we're mostly a surgical facility." by the way, "surgery" means one thing: abortion. this planned parenthood staffer is exactly right.
98% of their services to pregnant women constitute abortions, 98%. this chart lays this out very clearly. this pie chart represents 2009 planned parenthood services to pregnant women. the universe of services to pregnant women, abortions is in dark red, 98%. adoption referrals is in blue. i apologize if you can't see that. the sliver is that tiny. you have to be up close. and all other prenatal care is in green, and that's the reality of planned parenthood. we've also seen a recent onslaught of ads that claims that planned parenthood is simply a leading provider of women's health services, but abortions count for roughly one
of this third of the $1 -- one-third of the $1 billion generated by its clinics. planned parenthood's own annual report acknowledges that it provides primary care to only 19,700 of its 3 million clients. so number of clients: 3 million. those to whom it provided primary health care: 19,700. the provision to cut title 10 funding for health services sufficient as breast cancer screenings, h.i.v. testing, counseling, other valuable family planning services, would not block funding for those services at nonabortion providers. it would simply block funds from subsidizing america's largest abortion provider, and abortion is almost everything planned parenthood does. furthermore, medicaid spends
$1.4 billion on family planning each year, not $1 of those funds would be affected by this resolution and this proposal. society question we face today is not if family planning and women's health services will be provided but if instead we're going to use that as an excuse to fund the biggest abortion provider in the country, which does little else. though i personally don't believe abortion is a right guaranteed by the constitution, i recognize the sad reality that abortion-on-demand is right now legal in this country. but again, this debate isn't about that. it isn't about whether planned parenthood has the right to perform abortions, and it isn't about funding true health care services. the real question before us is whether millions of pro-life taxpayers have to fund this entity. every year since 2000, the
government has increased its funding of planned parenthood, on average $22.2 million a year. as a direct reflection of that the number of abortions they perform has dramatically increased, even though the overall abortion rate, thank god, in the u.s. has declined until 2008. this chart lays out the situation clearly. what is in green represents government grants and contracts to planned parenthood. iit has consistently gone up and up and up and up, a significant increase virtually every year. what is in red represents abortions by planned parenthood. very interesting. virtually the same slope of an increase. while at the same time for this
entire period until 2008, abortions nationwide were actually going down. now, i don't understand how anyone could look at this and say there's not a connection, say that we're not using taxpayer dollars to promote and fund abortion. this notion that it's not used directly for abortion services is a convenient fiction because it's a shell game because it in fact funds planned parenthood and 98% of what they dough is about abortion. according to their latest annual report, planned parenthood boasted more than $363 million in taxpayer funding, the same year it performed an unprecede unprecedented 324,000 abortions. planned parenthood's abortion rate massively outpaces its adoption referrals in particular.
in 2008, a woman entering a planned parenthood clinic was 134 times more likely to have an abortion than to be referred for aan adoption. and in fact this final chart shows that as planned parenthood's abortion rate steadily increased to that staggering number -- 332,000 in 2009 -- its adoption referrals actually decreased to just 977 that same year. so again, aborts are in deep red. adoption referrals are in blue. all other prenatal care is in green. what's the reality? what's the history? what are the facts? abortions go up dramatically and planned parenthood, prenatal services go down. adoption services go down as abortions go up.
planned parenthood has made a profit every year since 1987, including a $63.4 million return in 2009. there is no justification for subsidizing planned parenthood's profitable venture with taxpayer dollars, particularly when roughly half or more of those taxpayers deeply, deeply disagree with abortion. the sanctity of human life is a principle that congress should proclaim at every opportunity, and the time has come to respect the wishes of so many millions of americans who adamantly oppose using taxpayer dollars for abortions by denying all federal funding to this abortion machine. this is a social issue, of course. it's also a fiscal issue. our federal budget is out of control. we're facing unsustainable debt.
so given that in particular, isn't it time to stop funding an organization that millions of americans have fundamental problems with? our federal government -- if our federal government has any hope of regaining fiscal restraint, we have to make significant cuts more significant than are being proposed in the deal put forth today. i refuse to believe that planned parenthood is the one sacred cow that should stand untouched and be untouchable. the time has come to change this situation and to respect the wishes of the huge majority of americans who, whether they're pro-life or pro-choice think taxpayer dollars should not subsidize abortion, and that is clearly, clearly what is going on with planned parenthood. thank you, mr. chairman. with that, i yield back the floor and suggest the absence of
a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. mrs. boxer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from california is recognized. mrs. boxer: thank you. i ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mrs. boxer: i am so amazed that the lives that have been stated about planned parenthood on this floor -- that the lies that have been stated about planned parenthood on this floor have been repeated again and again. it gets pretty bad that steven cobert and jon stewart start to look at what you're saying on the senate floor. that's a rarity. it all startd when senator kyl took to the senate floor and said 90% of what planned parenthood does is abortions. well, that was a little bit wrong. 90% of what planned parenthood does is health care. no abortions. as a matter of fact, it's 97%.
and every dollar of federal funds goes to health care and may not since the 1970's, not one slim dime can go toward abortion. now, senator vitter upped this now and now says 98% of what planned parenthood does is abortion. i don't know what he's thinking, but let me reiterate, planned parenthood is a nonprofit organization. he says they make a profit. you can say anything. it doesn't make it true. and i think it's interesting that in the 1960's and 1970's, planned parenthood, which has become the prime target of the right-wing republicans, drew the support of prominent members of the g.o.p. richard nixon signed family planning legislation that authorized federal funding for groups like planned parenthood.
former senator barry goldwater's wife peggy was a founding member of planned parenthood in arizona. and former president george herbert walker bush as a republican congressman from houston spoke frequently on the house floor about the issue. now, it's astounding how the right wing of the republican party has walked so far away from their most revered leaders, but that's their choice. but it is also our choice as to whether we're going to stand here and take it or come here and rebut what they're saying. so count me in and count the democratic women and many men on this side of the aisle who have stood sentry on this taoepbld the true about this. and -- on this and told the
truth about this. and the truth is we're in a budget debate, mr. president. everything the republicans said is we've got to close the deficit gap. we've got to cut spending, cut spending, cut spending. and we said okay, we'll join you, but where were you during george bush's days? you never said a word. we'll put that aside. we'll meet you because when we had the majority and bill clinton was president, we're the only ones that did get a balanced budget and 23 million jobs. we know how to do it, and of course we are going to work with our colleagues. we met them over 70% of the way on spending cuts, but guess what? they are so ideological and so extreme that what you heard from senator vitter today is not discussion about the budget deficit and the fact that we have to get on top of it and get that budget balanced like we did under the clinton days, but you heard about abortion, abortion,
abortion, which has nothing to do with the issue at hand, because not one slim dime of federal money has been able to be used for abortion since the 1970's. and 97% of what planned parenthood does is health care, not abortion. so we know what the real priority of the republicans in congress, we know the real priority. we know what it is. it's an ideological agenda that, frankly, put women's health and women's lives at risk. here we had this huge debate over the budget. tough. getting down, we were all sweating it down within an hour of the day of the moment that the government would shut down, and the two things that the republicans insisted on voting on on a budget bill have nothing
to do with the budget, because for every $1 that planned parenthood gets to help them do cancer screening for women, pap smears, breast cancer screening, s.t.d.'s -- and they do for men as well -- h.i.v./aids testing, blood pressure checks, diabetes checks, and they charge a sliding scale. you walk in there, you have no insurance, you have no money, you get the services for free. if you have some, you pay some. the bottom line is this is what they're holding up this agreement over, and they forced us to vote on planned parenthood and, mr. president, repealing health care reform. now, what i say is extraordinary because we met them on the numbers, but in order to appease
their right-wing agenda, they're forcing these votes. and if those votes were to pass, who gets hurt? women and their families. i have some letters i've received from california because 775,000 women are served by planned parenthood clinics in california. 775,000 women. that's actually more than some states have. and i'm going to share a letter. i've shared a few of them. i just got one today, mr. president. "dear senator boxer: i don't write to you often because you already stand up and fight for everything i believe in. i heard you on npr this morning talking about women's health and the cuts the republicans want to make to planned parenthood. i'm a 42-year-old married professional. my husband and i aren't in the
highest bracket, but our combined income puts us in $170,000-a-year range. frankly we're more than happy to pay our fair share of the taxes for the things for our society. we're appalled by the budget taxes. if you really want to cut spending, do so where it's really outrageous. look at defense, look at the military. there's 60% right there. but what has me outraged right now is the republican party willing to shut down the government over a few dollars for planned parenthood. if you really cared about limiting abortion, funding family planning is the first step." she says, "when i was 20 years old, i was working my way through school. i was a sophomore in college with limited income. no parental support, no health insurance. the one thing i did have access to medically was planned
parenthood. the services were on a sliding scale. so at my income of $850 a month, a gynecological exam was $10. that price meant i went. i also got my pweurbgt control pills -- got my birth control pills there. however, the most significant cross road in my life came about because of planned parenthood. my family has a history of female cancer," she says. "i had a pap smear come back abnormal when i was 21. one, had it not been for planned parenthood, i would not have been able to afford the annual pap smear. two, planned parenthood did a biopsy on the abnormality. again it was a sliding scale, and i don't remember how much it was, but it was something i could manage. three, biopsy showed it was a potentially very dangerous
precancerous growth that needed to be removed. four, i did eat beans and rice for the next two months to pay my share for removing this growth. five, i had to have pap smears twice a year for the next several years. again, all i could afford was planned parenthood. frankly, if it wasn't for planned parenthood, there's a pretty good chance i wouldn't be here today. so this fight," she writes, "is not about abortion. it's about women's health." so, i have to say she is are the letters i've been getting day after day after day. and i am very proud of the people that have stood up and told the truth to counter the lies that i've heard, frankly, from members of congress. this one is named heather jones from costa mesa. the bottom line is if you turn
and look at the two votes we're going to have today, they both hurt women disproportionately. this isn't about budget. if it was about a budget, they'd give more money to planned parenthood because for every dollar that they invest, we save $4 on the other side. what would have happened if heather didn't find out that she had a dangerous precancerous growth? that would have gone forward. she would have gotten cancer. lord knows what it would have cost. she didn't make any money at that time. she would have had to have help from her county. it would have cost taxpayers. she would have been ill, gone through hell and back fighting this, and who knows if she would have made it. now the second vote we're having has to do with rolling back health care reform, another attack on women. it is an attack on everyone, but i want to just look at what it
does to women. do you know, mr. president, i know you know this because you've been a leader on this issue, before we passed our health reform law, being a woman was a preexisting condition. if you were a victim of domestic violence and a woman, they wouldn't insure you. they'd say you have a preexisting condition. what's that? well, your husband beat you, and guess what? he could do it again, so you're a high risk. goodbye. and we said, no, no, it can't happen. if you had a cesarean section and you tried to get insurance, they'd say no, no, no. since you had a cesarean section, you could have another one. it's too expensive. bye. we said no, you can't do that. you can't turn away people simply because they were the victim of domestic violence or had a cesarean.
you can't turn away a person because she's a woman. now, in 2014 insurance companies will not be able to deny anyone coverage because of a preexisting condition. now also, another issue we fought hard on, gender rating. insurance companies charge women in california 40% more than men for similar coverage. can you imagine? so when they say let's repeal health reform, who are they hurting? disproportionately, women. when they say no more funding for planned parenthood to continue their great work on basic health care, who are they hurting tis purport natalie -- disproportionately? women? preventive care was a key in that health reform. and, mr. president, i thank you. you serve on the appropriate committee that made that decision and i will tell you
right now women delay or avoid getting preventive care. but once health reform goes into place, we know there will be preventive health care services like mammogram without a he could prey or deduct -- he could prey or -- copay and deductible. when we repeal health reform, who will you hurt? women? who's going to get sick more than any other group? women. maternity care -- maternity care is not covered by many insurance companies. we changed all of that. and by 2014 insurance will be required to cover maternity care services. and let's look at medicare. we made many reforms in health reform dealing with medicare. more than half of the people who depend on medicare are women. 56% of medicare recipients are
women. so when you, as mr. ryan does in his so-called ryan budget where he ends medicare, let's call it what it is, you're throwing women under the bus. this time it's elderly women. how proud are you of that, mr. ryan? well, i'm not proud that that kind of proposal would come out. and it's starting here today when we vote to repeal health care reform. health care reform extended the life of the medicare trust fund by 12 years to 2027. why on -- 2037. why on earth would the republicans want to repeal a law that strengthens medicare and makes it viable until 2037? let me tell you what else would be repealed if they have their way today: every senior on medicare is going to get a free wellness exam. let me repeat that, every person
on medicare is going to get a free annual wellness exam and it will get them access to preventive health services like vaccination and cancer screenings with no copay and no deductible. why did we do that? first and foremost because it's the right thing to do, but it saves money at the end of the day when we invest up front in prevention. that's why, mr. president, the congressional budget office said that our bill saves billions and billions and billions of dollars over time because investing in prevention, just like planned parenthood did with my constituent, heather, where a -- where a cancer was discovered early means that an individual will get the care early, will get on top of this and will not have to spend a lot of money on it and will be spared the pain and suffering and all the rest
that goes with cancer. so i'm here really to say -- oh, wait. there's one more thing they repeal. i didn't see this one. if they get their way today, mr. president, they're not going to -- seniors are not going to see that infamous doughnut hole that they fall into on their prescription drugs. they're not going to see that close. in other words, right now it happens after you hit a certain amount of money for your prescription drugs. is it -- a couple of thousand dollars. then they say medicare prescription drug is not going to cover you. so you fall into that doughnut hole. we close that forever by 2020. they want to repeal that so seniors are going to have to pay more for their prescription drugs. now, we live in the greatest country in the world and we have
access to so many wonderful health advances be they medical devices, be they prescription drugs, but what good does it do if all of a sudden you can't get those things? so by repealing health care reform, which our republican friends want to do, and today we have a vote to do it, seniors, women, and their families will lose access to lifesaving drugs. they'll lose access to preventive care. they'll lose access to fair insurance coverage and, again, disproportionately it impacts women. it's just the way the demographics are. 56% of medicare recipients are women. so let's be very clear and let's
send a strong message tonight whatever time it is we vote on these two amendments. we are standing strong if we vote them down, we are standing strong for women, we are standing strong for their families, we are standing strong for americans. and anyone that would take these important reforms away, anyone that would say we don't care about the three million people who get their health care from planned parenthood are saying that they don't care much about those people -- by the way -- by the way there was some news program that said, what do you need planned parenthood for? you can go to walgreens and get all those services. so somebody said i never heard of getting a pap smear at walgreens or breast cancer screening.
that doesn't come to mind. and so walgreens actually had to put out a press release associating that they don't do these -- stating that they don't do those things. so let's start talking the truth on the floor and the truth is there's an ideological agenda around this place and it's crystallizing. and my republican friends have gone the bridge too far and people are catching on and it's starting to affect them. they're republicans, independents and democrats. i can assure you the people who are writing me who go to planned parenthood to get their health care, their preventive care, their blood pressure checks, their diabetes checks, they come from every political party. and planned parenthood in the beginning and when it was formed had these -- the strongest support from republicans, that's how it was. but these republicans today have
walked so far away from their own party that they are looking at a bill signed by richard nixon, voted for by george herbert walker bush and saying, no, no, no, we're not interested in family planning and they're distorting the debate. if people want fewer abortions, there is one place we can all walk together and that is prevention of unwanted pregnancies, birth control, contraception. they don't want that. they don't even want that and they've just joaferred reached. and -- overreached and i'm a person who says, i respect you no matter what your views are. i would stand in front of a truck to protect our views whatever they are. i don't tell people what to think about issues. i think they should be respected for what they decide, but big
government shouldn't be telling people what to think about the most personal decisions. that isn't what america is about. you know, we have over the years crafted some good compromises in the area of reproductive health care. we've said people have a right to choose in the early stages of a pregnancy, that's what the supreme court has said. it's been upheld since the 1970's. in the beginning of a pregnancy, a woman, and her doctor, and her family and a god, that's who would be consulted and up to her to make that a decision early in the pregnancy much as the pregnancy moves on, the state has an interest in make and deciding this issue as the pregnancy moves on. but always her life and health must be protected, that's the law. not one penny of federal funds can be used for abortion except
in the case of rape, insist, life of the mother. and i happen to be the one who carried that amendment on rape and insist. because before that, we didn't have that amendment. it was over on the house side many years ago. so we have a compromise. we have a compromise. and i would say to my friends, if you don't like that compromise, then come on the floor and make the woman a criminal and make the doctor a criminal, introduce your legislation, we'll fight it out and the people will weigh in. and what the people will say is, compromise. that compromise is fair. it's not perfect, but it's fair. but, no, that's not what they'll do. because they know if they said a woman is a criminal, it's a bridge too far. so what they try to do is vilify an organization that's been in place for how many years?
what? 95 years planned parenthood. 95 years. vilify an organization. 97% of their work goes to basic health care and family planning. it's really sad. it's wrong. and i'm here to say every time it comes out, the women, democrats, we've already been on the floor. we're just going to continue this battle with our male friends because nobody can tell me they care about women when they're about to vote to deny women basic health care. no one can tell me they care about families when they're about to deny families basic health care. no one can tell me they care about families when they can repeal a law that outlaws gender discrimination, that outlaws the
ability of insurance companies to turn you away if you were the victim of a domestic violence or had a cesarean section. nobody can tell me you care about seniors when you embrace the ryan budget that ends medicare. no one can tell me you care about seniors when today you're going to have a vote to repeal health care reform that gives them more funding for their prescription drugs, that gives them free wellness checks without a h copay or deductible. we always say around here, who's side are you on? are you on the side of the people or on the side of the insurance companies? are you on the side of the people or are you more interested in scoring political ideological points with the extreme wing of your party? those are the questions and i think the answer's going to come back tonight. i think we're going to defeat
these two radical amendments. and i hope it will send a message to our house friends over there who are going to have a radical budge that the experts tell us they're going to lose hundreds of thousands of jobs. i correct myself. the experts tell us the ryan budget would lead to the loss of 2.2 million jobs. can you imagine? can you imagine? the only beneficiary of that budget are billionaires and multimillionaires. so, listen, i'm happy to be in the senate at this moment in history because, to me, these are the issues. these are the issues. and i have to say these are the issues that i had in my campaign. and they were very direct. so i want to thank the people of
california for sending me back here. we have 38 million people, the largest state in the union. every time, you know, you take away something from a planned parenthood or another health care center, you hurt more of my people than anybody else because we're such a large state. today we start the votes and i'm grateful that i can stand up here and speak out against both of these radical amendments. one to defund an organization that's helping three million people a year in america and, second, repeal health care reform that does so much good, so much good and i think we're going to win these votes. i certainly hope so. i thank you very much, mr. president, and i yield the floor. mr. president, i have eight unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session. they have the approval of the majority and the minority